Forum: Growing Farm Friendly Communities

**This event is passed. See photos, video, and resources below. **

How to create municipal agricultural commissions & other tools to support farms in your town


Forum: Growing Farm Friendly Communities from GrowSmart Maine on Vimeo.

Thursday January 18th, 9-11a

Windham Town Hall, 8 School Street, Windham Maine

Co-Hosted by GrowSmart Maine & Maine Farmland Trust

Digital Links & Resources

  1. GrowSmart Maine Educational Brief on Farm Friendly Communities – 2 page resource with additional matrix outlining current policies & support tools in towns & cities across Maine.
  2. Maine Farmland Trust’s Municipal Policy Website (Update coming soon!) – Resource hub for citizens and municipal leaders looking for example ordinances, comp plans, and community engagement tools to boost their town’s farm friendly status.
  3. Recent GSM Blog Post: The Value of Farms, Monetary & Beyond – Natural Resources Economist Rachel Bouvier shares the economic benefits of farmland & working farms for Maine communities.
  4. Guide to Cultivating Maine’s Agricultural Future – Created by Maine Farmland Trust & American Farmland Trust; full of helpful information for citizens and municipalities
  5. Farm Friendly Community Checklist & Survey – Use this tool to determine if your town is farm friendly
  6. Town of Topsham Local Food Systems Case Study – Learn how agricultural heritage, local partnerships, and local government leadership combine to advance local food in Topsham.

Forum Description

Hear community & municipal leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together.

Maine’s food system and local food movement are growing and provide unique economic and community development opportunities in rural and suburban areas. Attendees will come away knowing how to enable their community to work together with current and future farmers to protect and build on Maine’s agricultural heritage and potential. Join our six expert presenters to learn how you and your hometown can welcome and retain small agricultural businesses.

Stephanie Gilbert, Farm Viability & Farmland Protection Specialist with the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry will moderate this panel discussion, followed by ample time for audience Q&A and networking.


  • Bud Benson, Town Planner, Town of Standish
  • Mark Hews, President, M. E. Hews and Company, LLC
  • Rod Melanson, Planning Director, Town of Topsham
  • Kate Newkirk, Co-Chair, Town of Winslow Agriculture Commission
  • Matt Randall, Agricultural Compliance Supervisor, DACF


9:00-9:15a Registration, Networking, Light Breakfast

9:15-10:45a Panel Presentations, Moderated Panel Discussion, and Audience Question & Answer

10:45a-11:00p Networking